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Practice to Deceive

Norman Robbins

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Full Length Play, Drama

3m, 5f, 2m or f

ISBN: 9780573113420

The gruesome discovery of several dead bodies on the moor sparks a police investigation and a heavy media presence in the remote North Yorkshire Village of Chellingford. When Adrian Brooks shows up at Jessica Scanlon's cottage, however, it is with another line of enquiry in mind. His sister, Laura, …

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Description | Characters | Author | Reviews

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Description

Full Length Play

Drama

Mystery/Thriller

120 minutes (2 hours)

Time Period - Present Day

Settings Of Play -

The action of the play takes place in the living room of the Herdsman's cottage, McBride's farm, Upper Chellingford, North Yorkshire

Act 1 Sc 1 Late summer, abour midday:  Sc 2 A few hours later

Act 2 Sc 1 Two Hours later:  Sc 2 Ten minutes later

FEATURES / CONTAINS

Interior Set

Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes

CAUTIONS

No Special Cautions

TARGET AUDIENCE

Appropriate for all audiences

PERFORMANCE GROUP

College Theatre / Student, Community Theatre, Dinner Theatre, Professional Theatre, Reader's Theatre, Shoestring Budget

The gruesome discovery of several dead bodies on the moor sparks a police investigation and a heavy media presence in the remote North Yorkshire Village of Chellingford. When Adrian Brooks shows up at Jessica Scanlon's cottage, however, it is with another line of enquiry in mind. His sister, Laura, has disappeared, and he thinks watercolour artist Jessica might be able to help him find her. Jessica's friend Etta has also gone missing, and when she is called upon to identify of the bodies discovered by the police, she confirms that it is Etta. But Jessica's landlady Mildred seems to have other ideas. A mysterious suicide, an elaborate insurance scam and the arrival of nosy true crime writer Diana Wishart create further layers of intrigue that lead to a thrilling denouement.

" Norman Robbins is famous for his pantomimes and farces including the wonderful "Tomb" trilogy but he has also written some cracking thrillers and Practice to Deceive is no exception .........Practice to Deceive will certainly keep an audience on it toes as they enjoy this good old fashioned whodunit" - Amateur Stage June 2012

First production March 2012 Bournemouth

To date 5 productions nationally

Characters

CASTING

3m, 5f, 2m or f

CASTING ATTRIBUTES

Parts for Senior Actors

CASTING NOTES

The Inspector and Sergeant can be male or female roles and age is not important.

 

ADRIAN BROOKES - late 30s
MILDRED MCBRIDE - late 60s
GAVIN PURDIE - 40s
DONALD CAFFREY - about 70
JESSICA SCANLON - early 40s
DIANA WISHART - 20s
SUSAN TONKS - slightly older than Diana
RHODA BRADSTOCK - 50s
INSPECTOR TYSON - 40S
SERGEANT MORLEY - 30S

Author
Norman Robbins

Norman Robbins

Norman, one of Amateur Theatre's most popular authors wrote his first stage show almost 60 years ago whilst working for the Yorkshire Evening Post. An avid theatre-goer from the age of 3, (his Grand-parents ran the pub near the local theatre so free tickets were always available) he was equally fascinated by Operettas, Musical Comedies, Oratorios, Plays and Pantomimes. A keen amateur actor and ... view full profile

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Reviews
Kevin Dicker 09/11/2014 18:51
Ferndown Drama Group

Barrington Theatre

FOR lovers of Crime Drama, the performance of Norman Robbins’ play, ‘Practice to Deceive,’ at the Barrington Theatre in Ferndown this week is a real treat. In the tradition of thriller style plays, this one does not disappoint.

The story takes place in a cottage on the edge of the moor, near the remote North Yorkshire Village of Chellingford. The discovery of several dead bodies on the Moor brings a deluge of police and media to the small town. Life is just getting back to normal, when Adrian Brookes shows up unannounced to visit a woman he’s never met.
From there, scams, lies and mystery come together to form a tapestry of intrigue all leading through several twists and turns to the thrilling climax.

There are certainly some very strong performances in this production, most notably to me, the shotgun-toting portrayal of Mildred McBride by Jenny Sibley. Her grasp of this character is quite obvious and her hard-nosed attitude toward protecting her farm and everything in it makes her quite endearing.

I very much appreciate the performance of the slightly creepy farm hand Gavin Purdie, played by Kevin Dicker. He does a great job of giving you someone to suspect very early in the show and carries it on right through to the big twists in the second half.

There are also some very strong performances from Dawn Hollington (Jessica Scanlon) and Ryan Gregg (Adrian Brookes), though both of these characters really shine through in the second act.

The set is a comfortable front room in a small country cottage, though the distinct lack of watercolour animal paintings in the living area of a watercolour artist didn’t go unnoticed.

The use of sound effects like thunder and rain throughout are very effective and accompanied by lots of water on the actor’s costumes there was a convincing storm outside the little cottage.

Director Paul Marcus certainly has a play that he can be proud of in ‘Practice to Deceive’ and if you have the time, head on out to Ferndown for an electrifying evening of drama and intrigue.

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